Man. farmers working against June deadlines

The deadline for filing penalty-free excess moisture claims for unseeded acres in Manitoba is June 22.

The final deadline, with a penalty of up to $500, is June 30. Farmers who fail to file by June 30 are ineligible for excess moisture coverage, according to Craig Thomson, Manitoba Agricultural Service Corp.’s (MASC) vice-president of insurance operations.

“We really want to get that message out,” Thomson said in an interview Wednesday.

With seeding delayed and weed control underway, farmers are busier than ever, but they need to pay attention to the deadlines, he added.

They might also be confused because the deadline for filing their crop insurance seeded acreage report is June 30. Farmers who haven’t completed seeding greenfeed, for example, should file their seeded acreage reports, including the number of acres left unseeded due to excess moisture, by June 22. They can revise their seeded acreage reports later if necessary.

The penalty for filing excess moisture claims between June 23 and 30 is 25 per cent of the normal payout, up to a maximum of $500.

Farmers enrolled in crop insurance are automatically covered for unseeded acreage due to excess moisture at $50 an acre, less a five per cent deductible on those acres. For example, if a farmer couldn’t seed 100 acres because they were too wet, he or she will receive $50 an acre on 95 acres, or $4,750.

There’s an additional five per cent deductible off the acres covered for farmers who filed for excess moisture coverage last year and 10 per cent for those who had claims the previous two years.

Next week MASC officials will have a better idea of how many acres of Manitoba farmland didn’t get seeded by the June 20 seeding deadline. But as of June 16 MASC is estimating it could be about 10 per cent of the province’s 9.2 million cultivated acres, or close to one million acres.

Seeding in the Fisher Branch region is just 10 to 20 per cent complete due to wet fields, according to David Van Deynze, MASC’s manager of claim services .

“We’re thinking we could get 400,000 to 500,000 acres (of unseeded land) from that region alone,” he said. “Then if you throw in those with five to 10 per cent not done just in the pothole country it starts to add up. That area in the Interlake will be a big chunk of our total.”

A record 1.4 million acres went unseeded due to excess moisture in 2005, triggering $58.3 million in excess moisture claims and contributing to a record crop insurance payout of $295.2 million.

Allan Dawson is a reporter for the Manitoba Co-operator.

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